Do you suppose IEAH is rethinking Stardom Bound’s future, given the dreadful non-effort put in by their “top” Derby hope Patena in the G2 Louisiana Derby? Of course, IEAH could offer a ridiculous amount of money for G2 Rebel winner Win Willy who, with his upset victory, moves into fourth-place for lifetime earnings (just behind Moyers Pond) among the progeny of underachieving sire Monarchos who stands for $6k this year at Nuckols Farm in Midway, KY. A $25k Keeneland 2007 Yearling (Hip #5241) purchase, surely he’s worth a cool $1.5 million or so to someone desperate for a Derby horse? Hardly. Talk about a horse we will never hear of again, that is until the Ohio or Pennsylvania derbies.
Like just about everyone else, I’m not sure what to make of Old Fashioned. Was it the off-track, the additional 5-7 lbs he gave away to the rest of the field, or the fast early fractions battling Silver City? Is he really just a miler (even though he’s already won with ease over 9f)? Lots to ponder, especially given the unheralded longshot that passed him with ease late. For now, he drops down on my Derby contenders list, but not off entirely.
While I was disappointed with Old Fashioned, I felt vindicated with my top pick Friesan Fire’s performance in the G2 Louisiana Derby. Wow! By far, the most impressive performance of the day, as he easily put away Papa Clem, who was #6 on my list last week—that first effort on dirt (an off-track, at that) definitely earned him the right to stay among my top ten. And just to brag a bit about Friesan Fire—only myself, Patrick at Handride and Brendan O’Meara at The Saratogian made him our #1 pick last week on the Paulick Derby Index—how many more will join us this week?
In California, Pioneerof the Nile looked hard-pressed to defeat an extremely mediocre field in the G2 San Felipe, but you wouldn’t know that from the press—Jack Shinar over at Bloodhorse notes he “got the test he needed.” This is the same writer who claimed Stardom Bound was “barely best” in last weekend’s G1 Santa Anita Oaks against a much-larger field, yet Pioneerof the Nile’s time (1:43.35) was virtually identical to the filly’s (1:43.62)? Sorry, but I’m still not buying into Pioneerof the Nile as a dirt horse.
In the G3 Tampa Bay Derby, Hello Broadway, Bear’s Rocket and General Quarters were huge disappointments, as Musket Man prevailed over Todd Pletcher-longshot (boy, not often you hear that combination of words!) Join in the Dance, with another longshot Justdontcallmejeri up for third over Nowhere to Hide. So, will Musket Man join the list of serious Derby contenders? Doubtful, even though his time (1:43.67) was mere fractions off the track record (1:43.11) set by no less than Street Sense. A $15k Keeneland 2007 Yearling (Hip #2613), Musket Man doesn’t appear to have the breeding to get 10f, and his tremendous performance this day was most likely due to attracting the services of top Tampa Bay jock Daniel Centeno.
Finally, I’m damn disappointed Rachel Alexandra’s connections appear disinclined to nominate their dominant filly for the Triple Crown, especially after her awesome victory in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks where, with Calvin Borel totally throttling her down, she still posted a time (1:43.55) only marginally slower than Friesan Fire’s in the Louisiana Derby (1:43.46).